When swimmers come across the itchy, annoying and painful symptoms of swimmer's ear, it can result in a trip to the doctor's office for a round of prescription antibiotics and painkillers. But what people don't know is that many of these doctor's visits don't have to be the first line of treatment! According to the Mayo Clinic (provide link address), self-care steps can be used to treat most cases of swimmer's ear without the use of prescriptions or costly visits to your local doctor's office - good news for those of us who are uninsured or have more important things to do than spend unnecessary time and money at the clinic.
Swimmer's ear, or otis externa, is a painful infection of the skin lining the ear canal, often brought on by exposure to water. Four out of every 1,000 people are affected annually by swimmer's ear including children and adults alike, but the risk increases for avid swimmers who are constantly in the water. Also, experts say that once an individual has contracted swimmer's ear, the risk of contracting it again is significantly higher.
To limit the risk of becoming infected with swimmer's ear be sure to:
* Keep your ears dry. Dry your outer ear thoroughly after exposure to moisture from swimming or bathing with a clean towel. Note: never insert your finger or any sharp or hard object into your ear.
* Avoid swimming in polluted water.
If you do develop swimmer's ear, before making a trip to the doctor and turning to prescription antibiotics to deal with swimmer's ear, try following these easy tips to heal the infection at home:
* Place a warm (not hot) heating pad over or against your ear to help reduce pain.
* Keep your ear dry while it's healing. Use earplugs when showering or bathing. Don't swim or clean your ears until the infection is gone.
* Use natural earache treatments such as Hyland's Earache Drops to relieve earache symptoms including throbbing, pulsing pain, burning sensation, and ear congestion (www.hylandsearache.com).
If after two days symptoms persist, it is recommended that you see a doctor, but these handy tips should help to clear most cases of swimmer's ear and to ensure your next visit to the pool doesn't end with an unnecessary trip to the doctor's office. in.